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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Neil Young's (Non-) Mideast Vacation: Stop Sniffin' That Smokin' Gun

"Stop Sniffin' That Smokin' Gun"

As noted, Neil Young was scheduled to perform in Tel-Aviv, Israel tonight, however the concert has been canceled due to the ongoing "tensions".

All of the surrounding controversy and aftermath has led to Neil Young's Donates To Coexistence Music Following Israel Concert Cancellation. Upon which we heard the following from Phil who said...
This is deeply unimpressive.

What was the plan?

His management having made the mega-faux-pas of including Israel in a ‘European’ tour, he thought he’d stay quiet, go with it and slip in a cheeky ‘free the people of Palestine’ half-way through a song when he got to the Apartheid state?

This is the charitable interpretation. And if that was the idea, it was extraordinarily naive. The damage done by an artist of Neil’s stature and known views on human rights playing for the Israeli genocidists far outweighs the benefits of a stealth chorus line, even if he had the courage to do it. If he believes in freedom for Palestine let him say so openly and apologise for the huge capital the ethnic cleansers have made out of his silence.

In their quest to exterminate an entire people on the basis of their race, the Israelis are currently murdering as many Palestinian children as they can. Neil can’t undo the damage he has done by simply tossing money at people (and how typically North American is that?).

Congratulations to the magnificent people of Liverpool who demonstrated their solidarity with the Palestinians outside Neil’s concert. What an example to the people on the stage, whose silence was louder than their guitars.
Thanks Phil for the measured comment. Appreciated. Here's where we're at. The net outcome on this is +/- 0. No change.

And here's why. Neil certainly didn't make the decision to play Israel lightly. He was going in eyes open.

But we'll never know what would've happened at concert. If he played his regular set and walked off with only a "Thank You Tel Aviv!" then folks when have all sorts of conclusions. fine.

But supposed Neil ripped the most ferocious version of Rockin in the Free World and made some lyric changes? Maybe some rather pointed lyric adjustments?

What then? If there's anywhere in the world that needs to hear song of peace & love, it's the Mideast.

So here's a Mideast Vacation for you...

As Neil sings "Stop Sniffin' That Smokin' Gun". Stay passionate. peace

Neil Young with Crazy Horse performed "Mideast Vacation" from 1987's Life at the Bridge School Benefit concert on Oct. 10, 2001. This marked Neil Young's 2nd post 9-11 performance (note NYFD hat) at the zeitgeist of 2000's paranoia.

The original key lyric "I went lookin' for Khaddafi [Libya's Muammar Gaddafi] Aboard Air Force One" was changed for the concert to "I went lookin' for Bin Laden aboard Air Force One".

So where does today's news leave Freedom v. 2014?

Are we celebrating the end of the Global War on Terror?

Or just getting ready for a repackaging of terror and the politics of fear into a kinder and gentler machine gun hand?

Well, just another song in a long line of Neil Young prophecies, 1986's "Mideast Vacation" captured at the zeigeist of 1980's paranoia.

"I went lookin' for Bin Laden aboard Air Force One"
But I never did find him
And the C.I.A. said Son,
You'll never be a hero
......Your flyin' days are done
It's time for you to go home now
Stop sniffin' that smokin' gun."

~~Neil Young, "Mideast Vacation, 1987

it's an angry world indeed,

Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Rockin' in the Free World - Hyde Park - Live in London - July 12 2014

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At 7/17/2014 12:12:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

neil's first performance after 9/11 was farm aid.

At 7/17/2014 12:22:00 PM, Blogger Wildgift said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 7/17/2014 01:27:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks Dominic. You are correct. updated.

At 7/17/2014 01:34:00 PM, Blogger Bone Machine said...


I am a loyal reader of this blog for the past 2 years.
I am also a resident of the state of Israel, in a area which is under attack of missiles almost every day, for more than a week now. Sirens and running to shelters are part of the life of my family and surroundings.

I couldn't believe the sentence "In their quest to exterminate an entire people on the basis of their race, the Israelis are currently murdering as many Palestinian children as they can." that Phil wrote, was posted on the main posts, because it is just not true. I wanted to ask you Thrasher, if by posting this sentence and thanking Phil for his "measured" response, you're justifying it to?

That sentence isn't true because Israel don't purposely killing Palestinian children. The situation is much more complex and isn't black and white. We are dealing with a terror organization that tries to shoot missiles on populated areas all around Israel. They also try to attack communities of civilians by sending armored troops at them.
Israel is trying to defend itself from that, but the Hamas shields itself with civilian population, making it hard to fight it without causing injury of civilians. There isn't an intention of hurting or killing innocent Palestinians.

I, and a lot of my friends just want the same thing as other people in the western world wants: raise our children safely, work, enjoy music, theater and other kinds of arts and live a normal life. But we are dealing with a hostile organization (Hamas) that all it did in the last 8 years since Israel fully retreated from the Gaza strip, was to arm and prepare for a violent war against us.
So I will ask the question I hear a lot on the media: What would you do if in the USA, you would wake up one day and be under attack of missiles on civilian population, and armed forces that are trying to cross the border and hurt you and your family?

At 7/17/2014 02:35:00 PM, Blogger maytree said...

Please stop sending me anything about Neil Young. I stopped listening to him when he was a big Bush Crime Family supporter (and Reagan) and when he stole the train company. Anyone who has done business with him knows he has no morals, his word means nothing. It is all about more for Neil

His general meanness negates any good he does in the world. His music is not worth it.
Let's go get Guaddafi & Bin Laden?
No thanks.
And now this. The whole world is condemning Israel as the UN has been for DECADES.
I've thrown out all his music.

I don't buy Australian Wool because the farmers are evil sadists. I don't support Neil Young because he is an ass hole who will never have enough money.

There is better new music being made anyway.

At 7/17/2014 02:53:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

@Bone Machine - you make a good point!

@maytree - I bet you're no Eddie Vedder fan either!

At 7/17/2014 03:30:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Bone Machine - and thank you also for your measured response. not an endorsement either. just saying thanks for not posting a rant, that's all.

@ maytree - feel free to unsubscribe anytime

At 7/17/2014 04:22:00 PM, Blogger Marmooskapaul said...

The Arabs in Gaza have no one to blame, but themselves.They have not contributed anything positive to their people or any civilized people. There are 10's of thousands of arabs/muslims being killed...mostly by other arabs /muslims..and we are supposed to feel sorry for the gaza arabs...No thanks...we have seen this movie before. If there was no Israel...there would be no Palistine. just another meaningless muslim hell hole...or else it would be Egypt or Jordan. When other Arab countries close there borders to palistinion arabs....that should tell you all you need to know.

At 7/17/2014 04:33:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Paul - you sound like a Muslim hater. Is that true?

Guys, c'mon. You're falling into the divide & conquer trap once more. Rise above it.

At 7/17/2014 04:52:00 PM, Blogger Marmooskapaul said...

No hate...just find myself diabolically opposed to most everything they women, children, other religions. agnostics and pretty much any non Muslim people, in Muslim dominated countries. That's not's common sense.

At 7/17/2014 09:05:00 PM, Blogger Joel_Grant said...

I am too far from your home to know what to think. But when people talk about "quests to exterminate an entire people..." they may be thinking of comments like this, by an Israeli lawmaker:

I presume you would condemn genocidal language like that from anyone?

Joel Grant

At 7/18/2014 12:46:00 AM, Blogger Dan1 said...

I'm ever impressed with how you've managed this controversial subject .. albeit you seem to like the controversy and the topic as it isn't dying so quickly ... but respectfully i have to politely disagree and say Phils comments are far from 'measured', there is hate oozing from his keyboard ... true we've seen angrier, less coherent rants on TW from time to time but his comments are baselessly exaggerated and angry ... I get that its an angry world and this is a loaded topic for a lot of people ... I can tell you personally, my friend's pregnant wife was blown to smithereens in a Hamas bombing in Jersusalem some years back ... she was a young, newly married American tourist, their unborn baby never had a chance ... and neither did the other ten or fifteen others who were blown up ... the other 30-40 people around there lucky enough to survive were blasted with nails and other projectiles that the Hamas suicide bomber loaded into the bomb to inflict maximum civilian casualties ... many of the victims were, like my friend's wife, tourists on a visit from abroad ... and like the victims of the Boston marathon bombing in the US, they lost legs and arms and suffered all kinds of terrible burns ... just people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when a Hamas terrorist chose to go to heaven to claim his 70 virgins .. and I'm betting there is street named after that bomber and he was probably worshipped as a hero for blowing up a bunch of innocent people ... the difference is that when an Israeli is found to commit a crime, like the atrocious, tragic kidnap / murder of that poor Palestinian boy who was burned, there are no parades in Israel, the family doesn't receive a hero's welcome, there is no streets named after the perpetrators ... they are swiftly arrested and imprisoned and there is widespread condemnation and reflection ... but make no mistake ... its the Phil's of the world and their harsh, exaggerated rhetoric that fuels Hamas and encourages them to keep up the terror campaign and keep up the carnage of blowing up innocents because it plays well with the anti-Israel sympathizers and it enflames the conflict and it pushes peace further and further away ... and the hateful comments about Neil's generous approach to trying to make a difference here in this conflict are so cynical and condescending and disrespectful ... it shows someone who is not for anything just against something ... hey Phil, what have you donated to making peace here other than your hatefulness??

At 7/18/2014 05:14:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Dan1 - thanks. we try but can't say we "like" this at all. But its important and as we say over & over, unless we have honest conversations about religion & politics, nothing will ever change for the better.

Those who refuse to discuss religion & politics are trapped in the status quo.

It's all been an illusion -- but its fading faster & faster as the big shift approaches. hang on

At 7/18/2014 06:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maytree - I agree that some of his decisions over the years have been of dubious morality. The completely unfair way in which he dealt with Jimmy McDonough showed a very ugly side to him. But in truth, Neil has been protected his whole life by an army of managers and businessmen, which hasn't done much good for the way he engages with people. When managers or lawyers can no longer protect him, as in the Mcdonough case, he is very fragile, very insecure.

Every now and then you get a glimpse of this side of him; for instance the end of the Cow Palace 1989 show, where for a few revealing seconds he is visibly panicking on stage. His first response is go to Bill Graham for help.

Having said that, he still comes across better than just about every other over-protected rock star, so it's not fair to single him out. It goes with the job.

Which brings us on to Israel. Neil is a great artist, but as he stated recently, he goes where his manager sends him. His life has been concerned almost entirely with his work. I doubt he put any great amount thought into playing Israel, unsettling as that may sound to some. As with many things in his life, Neil just goes where the music (or his management team) send him.

Sometimes this enclosed lifestyle leads to him recording masterworks, sometimes he wastes years working on state-of-the-art audio formats that sound no better than CD. But for better or worse, he's protected in a bubble (or a "velvet cage" as David Briggs out it); he does his work and his management team arrange for it to engage with the real world. Whether that be in America or Israel. Don't hold it against him; it's a symptom of a much deeper cause, and one that doesn't always have negative results. In my opinion, the good outweighs the bad.

The Flying Scotsman.

At 7/18/2014 06:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan1 - before passing judgement on "rants" ("coherent" or otherwise), how about learning how to use paragraphs?

If nothing else, it will give you a slightly more respectable air of authority.


At 7/18/2014 07:41:00 PM, Blogger Gus said...

Bone Machine said "That sentence isn't true because Israel don't purposely killing Palestinian children." I'm afraid this isn't true, because there was a well documented event a couple of days ago where an Israeli naval ship shelled a Gaza beach and killed 4 Palestinian children playing soccer. Read and watch here:

Obviously, Hamas is to blame for continuing to fire rockets into Israel, but both sides are committing atrocities. It's a horrible situation.

At 7/19/2014 12:52:00 AM, Blogger zylusloosebottom said...

I think there are people in Tel Aviv who love Neil Young and would really dig seeing him live.

At 7/19/2014 01:37:00 PM, Blogger David E. Ray said...

Please read Palestine Betrayed by Efraim Karsh. This book goes into how we got into this mess. His conclusion is that it is mainly the fault of the Arabs. They NEVER wanted a Jewish state in their midst. I doubt if there will ever be peace until they accept Israel's right to exist.

Israel left Gaza and what did they get in return? Constant attacks!

I don't hear anything about the Jew's right of return to the Arab states that kicked them out. Or getting their property back.

When Neil played in Israel with Pearl Jam back in 1995, was there this big stink over it?


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